A place of history and sacred art in the historic centre of Siena.
The full name of the basilica is Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi and it’s located In Piazza Manzoni, on the hill overlooking Valdimontone.
This basilica was the second Marian shrine in Siena for centuries until 1611 when the new Collegiate Church of Santa Maria in Provenzano was built.
The church is devoid of decoration on the outside, in line with the requirements of the new Mendicant Orders that sought simplicity in form and message.
Inside the basilica with its Egyptian plan, works of great spiritual and artistic value are preserved, mostly dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The most significant works are the Madonna del Bordone (Madonna of the pilgrim’s staff) by Coppo di Marcovaldo, Coronation of the Virgin by Bernardino Fungai and the Virgin of Mercy by Giovanni di Paolo.
The Order of the Servants of Mary was founded by seven Florentine saints, who after leaving their families and their material possessions, retired far from Florence, on Monte Senario to devote themselves to penance and prayer. Their way of life was an inspiration to many who followed their example. Thus the lifestyle of the Servants of Mary began to spread, reaching as far as Siena in 1250.
Known as Servites, they initially settled outside the city, but were soon invited by the municipality to build their church within the city walls.
The construction of the basilica began a few years later, on the site where the Church of San Clemente once stood. The land was donated by the Tolomei family and the building materials were from the municipality.
Construction proceeded so slowly that the consecration did not take place until 1533 when the building was still unfinished. The interior was completed in 1537 while the 15th-century facade was never finished.
In 1750, the steps were added to access the basilica, while in the late 1800s and early 1900s the transept and other components were rebuilt in a neo-Gothic style.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, numerous artists participated in the decoration of the chapels, including the revered Alessandro Franchi, Giovanni Branucci, Ulisse de Matteis and Giuseppe Catani.
Where: Piazza Alessandro Manzoni, Siena
From 5:00 am to 7:00 pm